Filtering by Tag: shoe makeover

Week 51: Creative Challenge 52

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, is in Paris, and she's taken the opportunity to take some photos while she's there.

Trish and Richard are staying in a gorgeous, but tiny apartment on the Ile Saint Louis, but they've had a lot of work to fit in and that hasn't left Trish any time for cooking. With extraordinary food on every corner, who needs to cook in Paris?

Paris photography
Paris Photography
Paris Photography

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has returned from a joyful family wedding in San Diego, where she spent time with family, went sightseeing, and drank quite a few margaritas.

Telena in San Diego

She took bamboo knitting needles, crochet hook and some wool to amuse herself on the plane, and she managed to knit and crochet a number of squares while watching seven movies over the course of two flights. She finds it easy to knit without watching what she's doing and she's getting better at this when she's crocheting, although she notes that she's a little slower.

Telena's squares

Telena had no opportunity for felting this week, but she's gathered some silk chiffon and fleece for a new project and can hardly wait to get started.

San Diego

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been the Jimmy Choo of Warragul this week. With three of the girls from the Remembrance tour green with envy over the ruby boots he made for Libby last week, he's found himself in hot demand. The girls trooped off to Target to buy some cheap shoes for Kanen to play with, and they put in requests for their favourite colours.

Kanen's shoes

Kanen says he spent no more than about 90 minutes on any one pair, although he notes that the pink undercoat didn't take to the faux leather very well, requiring four coats for even coverage. Each coat was completely dry within 5 minutes, however, so it didn't hold up production.

Shoe makeover

Kanen forgot to take a before photo of the blue boots (which were black), but he was quite taken with the blue leather paint, sans glitter, and he says he might whip up a pair for himself when he's home from tour.

shoe makeover

Stephen Bennett

Steve's scones

Stephen Bennett put on his chef's hat this afternoon to make a delicious batch of sultana scones to get us through the working week. He was a popular fellow indeed when they were sampled this afternoon. They're delicious!

Steve's scones

He's also shared some photos from a gathering of film photographers last weekend. The group sat around for a while talking about cameras, films, prints and the weather, then went their separate ways to see what they could find to photograph. The two buildings in Steve's photos were taken with a lens on the camera and the other two are pinhole (lens-less) photographs. Nice.

landscape photography
landscape photography

Scarlet Bennett

I've started working on some pieces to put aside for Christmas gifts, and I put together this choker set today for a friend who adores blue and butterflies. It's made with blue sky jasper, crystal quartz and sterling silver. It's not something I'd wear myself, but she'll love it.

blue sky jasper choker

Week 49: Creative Challenge 52

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has recently been in Orange and, while she was there, she visited Sassy Wines, a small boutique winery. The owner, Felicia, expressed interest in having some of Telena's textiles in the gallery at her cellar door, and she gave Telena a bag of mixed merino/polworth fleece to use in her creations.

Telena's felt scarves

Telena experimented with the fleece this week, finding that it created a softer felt than pure merino, and she's excited by the possibilities.

Telena's felting process
Telena's crocheted squares

She made two long skinny scarves, one with fleece alone and the other a mix of fleece and silk chiffon. Telena hasn't decided how she'll dye them yet, whether she'll eco-dye with leaves or aim for brighter hues.

Telena has also been making crocheted granny squares as she's going overseas and is hoping that a bamboo crochet hook will be deemed a safe travelling accessory by the authorities who determine what we can and can't take on flights.

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, reports that the tedious events of last week (when Kanen received a homophobic taunt from a heckler in the crowd after he sang the national anthem at a nationally televised basketball match in Melbourne) have deterred his itchy glitter-finger not a jot! So he presents this week's dazzling offerings with a gay and defiant heart. Bravo.

Kanen's glitter tie

Kanen hasn't shared his creative process since he assumes that, by now, we're all too familiar with his methods. He did, however, experiment with a new technique that's turned out quite splendidly. He dropped into Riot Arts and Craft for a bottle of acrylic medium because he's been struggling with the consistency of the gorgeous Glitterlites paints he so adores. It's very thick in the jar and doesn't spread very well on fabric, requiring several coats to achieve uniform coverage. Kanen thought he'd see if it might apply more evenly if it was dispersed in an appropriate medium.

Kanen's painted boots

His hypothesis was resoundingly confirmed and he says this is an important development because the thinner coats allow greater flexibility in the finished shoe, which means no cracks or sparkle loss where the shoe bends with the foot.

Are we glad to know this, he asks. Absolutely! I'm loving those new wheels sick.

Kanen's shoe makeover

Trish Urquhart

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has contributed a wonderful recipe for her contribution this week.

Trish and Richard have started the return journey in their narrowboat, Patience, to their mooring in Braunston and, as they travelled through various locks, Trish discovered a bounty of hedgerow fruit - apples, plums, elderberries, haws, blackberries and sloes.

Trish's hedgerow crumble

Trish has mountains of fruit still to process, but for now she's created a brilliant hedgerow crumble, and she's shared the recipe on her blog. Do check it out. It looks delicious. As does her greengage clafoutis below. Yum!

Trish's hedgerow crumble

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has nearly finished renovating the camera he started work on last week and all that remains is to secure the bellows to the frames. He's very pleased with how it's turned out and, with the hardest part of the job behind him, he's looking forward to finishing the task.

Steve's camera renovation

We're just back from a trip to Sydney, returning to Canberra via Kiama and Berry, to shoot a couple of marketing videos. Steve took every possible opportunity to grap some landscape shots while we were there. He took these photos in Manly.

Manly Beach

The next photo was taken in Kiama, and rest at Berry.

Masonic Temple Kiama
Berry

Scarlet Bennett

I've got two new online courses that will launch in the next couple of weeks and I wanted to make videos for each of them to include on my website.

These are substantial programs - roughly six months in duration - and, although they're both peak performance courses, the content is very different because the professional demands of each profession differ so greatly.

So...we went to Sydney to film a video for the Peak Performance for Performers course because we wanted footage with the gorgeous Sydney cityscape in the background. We filmed at dusk and into the night to capture the amazing view of the city lights. Steve took a photo to capture my creative effort.

Filming for Peak Performance Psychology for Performers

This morning we drove to Kiama for some ocean footage, and the weather just couldn't have been better. The rain held off, but the sky was blanketed in grey clouds, giving us fabulous, soft light to work with. It was a bit of a flying tour, but we got the job done and now it's over to Steve to put the videos together.

Video for Peak Performance Psychology for Writers

There wasn't much time for recreation on this trip, but we did manage a walk around Manly Beach this morning and a book indiscretion at some point on our journey was inevitable. The impressive thing is...I only bought one!

Manly video trip

Week 36: Creative Challenge 52

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been exercising her keen artistic eye this week. She and Richard are currently moored at Paddington Basin, and Trish has been walking through Paddington Station in her search for interesting culinary provisions. She looked up, yesterday, and noticed the elegant steel scaffolding above.

Paddington Station

Trish took shots with her phone from a few different angles, and she liked the location so much she intends to go back with her camera.

Paddington Station

Having captured her masterpieces, she then got inspired about food. She ducked in and out of a couple of supermarkets, then she rushed back to the boat to make supper with Richard for some friends. She was so inspired she even managed to dash out a quick blog post. Check it out here. You'll be hard pressed to find more creative ways to use togarashi seasoning. The roasted peaches with vanilla, cognac and togarashi seasoning look simply amazing. Yum!

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, is still obliged to keep off her injured ankle, so she's been finishing some longstanding projects to make the most of her enforced immobility.

She's been working, this week, on a pullover she started a few years ago, a project which stalled when she couldn't decide how to finish the neckline. She decided to move away from the striped pattern she used for the body, opting for larger blocks of colour on the sleeves to achieve a quirkier look overall. The pullover isn't quite finished yet, but Telena's hoping to have another warm woolly to wear by the end of the coming week.

Knitted pullover

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, promised us more of his signature glitzy shoes last week and, as always, he's delivered in spades.

Kanen says he's tres happy with the sparkly little quickie transformation he's executed this week on another $20 pair of Zu shoes - gorgeous soft lambs wool lined suede, down from $120. He's the king of the bargain as well as the king of glitz.

It took Kanen an hour and a bit to jazz up these shoes, with a trusty hairdryer by his side to cut down the drying time.

Shoe makeover

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett's creative offering this week is a light-tight addition to a drawer for his friend Pete, whose darkroom Steve build a couple of years ago. Pete often comes up with little modifications and Steve is happy to oblige where possible. This drawer makes it possible for Pete to store open packets of light sensitive enlarging paper ready to be grabbed and stuck under the enlarger. It's a real time-saver in the darkroom and something Steve might just add to his own darkroom one day.

Darkroom drawer

Scarlet Bennett

My novel will be published on 14 July, and it will be going on a global blog tour as part of its marketing. It's customary to provide giveaways for book bloggers to use as prizes in competitions they run for their readers. There will be book giveaways, of course, but I've also agreed to make some jewellery to add to the mix. That's going to be my creative challenge for the next few weeks.

I'll be making a variety of pieces - some classic sterling silver with semi-precious gemstones, and some book themed pieces like the Pride and Prejudice pendant I made for my niece recently.

Today I made some earrings. This pair is made with turquoise and sterling silver finished with an antique patina. These earrings are reminiscent of American Indian craftsmanship.

Earth goddess earrings

I also made a pair using freshwater pearls and sterling silver. I never, ever tire of pearls. They lend a timeless elegance to just about everything.

Pearl earrings

This is a good start, but I need more, much more. Watch this space to see what I add to the booty.

Week 35: Creative Challenge 52

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has created a sexy shoe makeover this week. 'Pinch me!' he says. He searched high and low across Melbourne's cobblers and shoe repairers this week for the lovely Glitterlites that he showcased in a recent shoe transformation but, alas, nobody had even heard of it. Nobody, that is, until his last port of call - a shoddy little shopfront run by the Rekaris family who were delightful and quite caught up in the passion of his search (he wins hearts everywhere he goes, our Kanen. The folks at Specsavers adore him.).

Kanens red shoe makeover
Kanens red shoe makeover

The Rekaris family hadn't heard of Glitterlites, but they advised Kanen to ring a leather wholesaling group in Flemington called Leffler, who supply most of Melbourne's shoe repairers and makers with their products. He rang them. He described. He held his breath. They said yes, they stocked all the colours of the rainbow with such casual indifference that Kanen almost thought he'd dreamt it. An hour later, he was standing in their warehouse trying to decide which colour in the spectrum he most desired. He says he was like a frat boy in a whorehouse for the first time. Oh dear.

Kanen ultimately decided that red was his top priority because he needs it to make a pair of shoes for Daryl, the Bedfellows' pianist. Daryl now wears, in their shows, the red sequined jacket Kanen made previously, so it only seemed right to queer him up even further, to match the Bedfellows' own peculiar brand of gildedness.

Next stop was the ZU shoe warehouse in Richmond to spend further $$$. He managed to pick up six pairs of shoes - $900 worth - for $120. 'Very me to go for one pair and come out with six,' Kanen says, 'but I'll live on two minute noodles for a month if I must!'

Daryl's brogues are a darker charcoal than the before photo suggests and, of course, the true magic of the glitter can't really be captured in its full sparkly magnificence, but Kanen says they look a treat in real life. He could have stopped at the 'undercoat' stage - not as shiny as his previous pink pair because he's painting on suede rather than leather - but the sparkles beckoned and won the day. One pair down, five to go.

Kanen's still in Melbourne and he says that shoe transformations are a great creative challenge option for hotel living, so watch this space. He says he planning something outlandish and sparkly next. Just for something different.

Keryn Clark

I write with sad news for flower fans. South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, is working so hard at the moment that she's decided to opt out of the rest of our year-long creative challenge. She's indicated, however, that she may return briefly to show us how her backyard transformation ends up. Something for us to look forward to. If we're lucky, she might even throw in a flower arrangement or two.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been obliged to keep off her ankle again this week, and she's taken the opportunity to finished an unfinished knitting project.

This pullover started its life as a sleeveless vest for Telena's father, but remained unfinished when he passed away. She's attempted to finish it several times, but the timing somehow wasn't right.

The pattern had a pullover option and Telena found that she had enough wool to extend the project, so she busily knitted the sleeves and sewed the garment together. She says it's rather large on her, but she feels warm and cosy in it.

Telena's pullover

Last night, Telena and her husband went to a 1920s party, so Telena adjusted one of her long, black concert dresses to transform it, temporarily, into a flapper dress. She folded the extra length up on the inside and sewed it loosely to the lining. She then sewed some long black fringing to the now shorter hemline. She says it looked quite the business with a red feather boa, long red gloves, and a headband with feathers and a rose.

Telenas flapper dress

Trish Urquhart

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been indulging her passion for togarashi seasoning. She bought a huge bag of cashew nuts from an Indian supermarket in a town they passed through this week on the way back to London on their narrowboat, Patience. She roasted the cashew nuts on a very low heat with olive oil, togarashi seasoning and salt, and then ate them as a snack while writing this blog post.

Roasted togarashi cashews

Trish has also included a travel photo she took from Patience last night. How's the serenity?

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett promises that this is the last instalment of photos from his Easter photographic trip to the Snowy Mountains. He's finished processing and scanning all the films and here are the final fruits of his labours - a highly productive and satisfying trip. When's the calendar coming out, I wonder.

Steves high country triptych

Scarlet Bennett

I started this week's blog with shoes and I'm finishing with shoes - sort of, in a sublime to the ridiculous kind of way. Where Kanen wins the style award, I'm hoping to win the comfort award. Well, daggy actually. I'm not too proud to admit it.

But the truth is, in winter, I get very cold feet, and I'm a relentless 'fixer' of problems, no matter how trivial.

I've been tinkering away with these slippers for a couple of weeks now. The crocheting took me no time at all. And the rest of the tinkering would be more accurately described as procrastination, because stitching up and cord plaiting are the jobs I least enjoy. At last, however, my masterpiece is complete. Do try to contain your envy.

Week 33: Creative Challenge 52

travel photography in the UK

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been working wonders in her small galley (narrowboat) kitchen this week.

In addition to profiting from her obsession with tagaroshi seasoning, Trish has created a wonderful new recipe - spiced clementines preserved in honey and cognac. These look really fabulous, and if you're as tempted to make them as I am, check out her Clementines in a Cauldron blog where she's posted the recipe.

Always the productive creative, Trish has also added some new travel photos. They make me want to pack up stumps and head straight to the UK. You're a bad influence, Trish!

Spiced clementines

Kanen Breen

kanens shoe makeover

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is absolutely flat chat at the moment. The Bedfellows are strutting their stuff at the Vanguard, and Kanen is flying to Melbourne early tomorrow morning - no rest for the wicked, clearly. But he's found time to indulge his shoe fetish this week with a truly spectacular makeover.

Just when he thought he'd produced the gayest pair of shoes in Christendom, along came a little product called 'Glitterlites - flexible glittercoat', and he was born anew, trembling like a six year old girl playing with her first My Little Pony doll. He knew that this stuff existed, but it's an American product - pretty expensive to import - and Kanen wasn't sure it would be worth the expense. Imagine his delight to find it, quite by accident, at a shoddy old cobblers in Bondi Junction.

'God bless America,' he says. 'It's brilliant! And you can anticipate a whole new range of camp footware when I return from Melbourne.' Too exciting.

It's advisable, apparently, to match the glitter to a similar background colour, so Kanen painted a pale pink undercoat with leather paint and he says he could honestly have stopped at that point because the shoes looked so smooth and shiny. He then added the Glitterlites, which painted on as smooth as silk.

He's loving these shoes sick now, and desperately hoping to finish another longer-term project to combine them with in time for the opening gala concert at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Can't wait to see that. These sparkly new wheels are really something, aren't they?

pimp my shoes

Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, is having this week off to celebrate a milestone birthday. Happy birthday, Keryn, from the entire creative challenge team! Another year young with your happiest, most creative years ahead of you. See you next week.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has decided - after going through her wool stash - that she really ought to join woolaholics anonymous. But she's decided, instead, to de-stash and put some of her bountiful collection to good use.

Going through her stash, Telena's eyes fell on some lovely gold bobbly wool and, as she pondered its fate, she thought of a young lady at the gym whose favourite colour is yellow. Telena knew she'd love it, so she's spent much of her spare time this week knitting a scarf and hat for her gym friend's birthday next month - even knitting on the ferry en route to work.

knitting on the ferry

Her next step is to try and muster the courage to donate some of her wool collection to a deserving cause or person. Good luck with that, Telena.

Telena has also fitted in some felting time this week. She's made several prefelts with the idea of creating a sculptural collar. She layered different colours of fleece to achieve this, and as she sews, felts, and cuts away streaks, the different shades will be revealed.

knitted scarf and hat

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has been a photographic creative again this week

The photos in the triptych were taken using the Kershaw Eight 20 Penguin camera pictured. He found it in a junk store and paid peanuts to add it to his ever-growing collection of old cameras. It takes roll film and produces 6x9cm negatives It's a very basic camera, and quite clumsy to use, but it works just fine and is a worthy addition to his collection. As you can see, he captured some lovely shots with it.

Kershaw Eight 20 Penguin camera images

Steve created a diptych with a couple of pinhole photos that he took in Boorowa last Sunday for Worldwide Pinhole Day. He used the big old box camera that takes 8x10 film and has no lens on the camera, just a tiny, half millimeter pinhole to form the image on the film plane. Miraculous.

pinhole photos for worldwide pinhole day

Steve also took a lovely portrait of Lucy and Hannah yesterday, taking advantage of Lucy's trip home from Sydney. Gorgeous girls.

portrait photography - lucy and hannah

Scarlet Bennett

I've been in my jewellery studio again this week, completing a set of pieces that I've been incrementally adding to.

I'd previously made a cuff and ring (pictured) with sterling silver and green aventurine, and I wanted a pendant to complete the set.

green aventurine cuff

So I made a vintage style pendant and I'm just loving it. All I'm missing now, it seems, are some Breen-esque shoes to complete my ensemble. Too much? Never!

Green aventurine pendant

Week 28: Creative Challenge 52

Telenas black felt dress

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has had an impressively creative week, particularly when you consider that her daughter's wedding is now just a week away.

Telena met with her felting group early in the week, and enjoyed a relaxing day felting around foam to create different bead shapes. Some of these remind Telena of sugared almonds. She's been playing around with various combinations and will make some creations with them soon.

Telena has also made another felt dress, this time in black. It looks stunning and sophisticated, creating a stained-glass effect when worn over colours.

Telena is hoping to find some more felting time in the coming week, but with rehearsals, teaching, Easter and a wedding, her schedule is looking rather busy.

telenas felt beads

Trish Urquhart

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, is currently in Oxford attending Oxford Literary Festival events while managing her usual workload remotely. Trish has already attended a number of food related talks, and some with a connection to Venice/Italy (relevant to Allaboutwriting's forthcoming Venice writing retreat), and today she's hoping - weather permitting - to go on a literary walk.

Trish in Oxford

Trish has been busy with her camera, and her creative contribution this week is a collection of photos that she took in Oxford.

Trish and Richard will be spending a protracted period of time in Oxford while their narrowboat, Patience, undergoes much needed repairs - rust removal and a fresh coat of paint. Trish plans to photograph this process so we may get some before, during and after photos over the coming weeks.

Heralds in Oxford
Trish in Oxford

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has submitted an offering from his Flash Gordon/Iron Man collection this week.

These were (are) his all-time favourite boots, made from a really gorgeous soft leather. Unfortunately, Kanen helped a friend move house in them and squashed both of the toe caps under a couch he was carrying. The leather itself had an already distressed patina when he bought them so they ended up looking scruffy and sad very quickly.

Well, it's all too obvious how he chose to revive them, but his original plan to paint only the toe was as short-lived as it was optimistic.

Out of respect for the boots Kanen so loves, he actually did the right thing and pre-treated the leather, as well as stripping the wax and colour from it before using proper leather paint. Funnily enough, he says, when you do the recommended prep, the results are better, long-lasting, and easier to achieve - who knew???

As promised, Kanen wore his gold-lapel jacket to Jacqui's Aida debut last night, and it was a satisfying hit (he made a few additions that he'll share next week), but Jacqui was the real star of the night - fabulous. Bravi tutti!

Kanens boots

Keryn Clark

Keryns backyard

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, had a beautiful backyard in sunny Perth - check out this You Tube clip from last summer to see for yourself. The same, however, cannot be said for the backyard in Keryn's new Gold Coast home, and she's revealed all this week in a Creative Challenge photo exclusive.

The terracotta pots and the frangipani tree were given to Keryn a couple of days ago by a friend, out of pity, and because he didn't want them in his new white-marbled Hampton's style patio by the river. So...there's a tired frangipani, some chipped terracotta pots, a collection of hanging baskets, a gas cyclinder, some water tanks, and Keryn.

Keryns backyard
Keryns backyard

In a fit of gloom, Keryn has turned to her favourite gardening sites, which are Garden Bleu in Johannesburg, and Gardenista, a really good gardening blog. Between them, they are going to help Keryn transform her backyard. Keryn has created a mood board on the wall of her office in the shop using pictures from Garden Bleu and Gardenista and, so far, she's thinking of erecting a black fence around the perimeter, a wall garden to cover the tanks, a gazebo over the deck, and a pergola down the side of the fence with wisteria and lots of boxed greenery. She'll move the washing line into the garage.

Keryn has challenged herself to add something each week to her horror backyard with the intention of having a big reveal in the next few months. Either that, she says, or she's moving!

Keryns mood board

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett passed a happy half hour photographing the Comet Inn at Hartley Vale - a mid 19th Century pub - with his pinhole panoramic camera and his Hasselblad. Something weird happened to the bottom right photo, as the image isn't quite what he expected. He thinks he managed to both over-expose and double-expose the image, resulting in an unusual low-fi picture that he quite likes - a happy accident, perhaps.

Comet Inn Hartley Vale - Stephen Bennett photography

Scarlet Bennett

I found this lovely vintage ring in an antique shop yesterday - at an absolute bargain price - and it inspired me to try my hand at a design I've been contemplating for my niece, Samantha.

Samantha is a voracious reader with a particular passion for the classics, and she'll be celebrating her birthday in late April. Pride and Prejudice is one of Samantha's all-time favourite books, and when we were discussing classic P&P quotes recently, she told me that this is her favourite: [Charlotte Lucas] 'Mr Collins tends the gardens himself and spends a good part of every day in them...I encourage him to be in his garden as often as possible.'

I've been working on a design to feature that quote in a vintage piece with a classic, aged feel. Here's what I've made. I'm very happy with how it's turned out and I'm hoping Samantha will love it.

Pride and Prejudice pendant

Week 22: Creative Challenge 52

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has some very exciting news this week. The new Gold Coast florist shop that we've been hearing about, Bloom in Design, is open for business! Here, for your enjoyment, is Fourteen days in the life of Bloom in Design.

Keryns Finished Shop Fit-Out

What started out as a vague idea as Keryn sat at her computer in Perth a mere four months ago, suddenly took shape and became real. Today's photo journey starts with a blank room on the Gold Coast, after Keryn and her business partner, Remy, took ownership of this space on 1 February.

Keryn had analysed the specs from the plans she'd received by email and she knew what needed to be done when they moved in - after five days they opened their doors.

Keryn's job is concept, planning, promotion and knitting things together, and for the last few months she felt like she was pushing a cart up hill. Then suddenly the shop came together and it was Valentine's week. What a great time to open a florist shop.

At the beginning of the week, they didn't even have a flower supplier. In desperation, Keryn found a grower in Sydney on Facebook and phoned to ask if he shipped to the Gold Coast. The answer was 'yes', so she ordered a shipment of flowers two days later, which he promptly sent to Brisbane, a hundred kilometres away from Bloom in Design. One courier and $300 later, they had flowers.

Keryn made a You Tube video, which she had to learn to do very quickly, to promote the opening...

Their website, which is currently just a placement page, comes from an arrangement Keryn photographed before they left Perth. She liked it so much she sent it to their graphic designer for use as part of their brand. Next came set-up of the social networking sites, which Keryn has linked to the website. She's been bombarding them with photographs ever since, trying to establish a social media presence.

But the real joy in this project came for Keryn on Valentine's Day when four out of five of her own arrangements sold within a couple of hours. She hasn't historically been known for her floristry skills, although she has trained as a florist. Remy, her business partner, usually gets the accolades while Keryn hides in the back room doing something essential but boring. She was allowed to play on Valentine's Day and was very happy to sell her arrangements.

Keryns Valentines Day Flowers

Keryn also did flowers for two restaurants as a marketing exercise, which netted them four customers.

And finally, realising that they were overstocked as a result of not yet knowing their market, she drove to their local supermarket, which had been under-supplied with flowers, and sold twelve assorted arrangements which were gone within thirty minutes. All this from staring out of her window in Perth, playing with arrangements on her kitchen table, and taking photographs of them because she was bored.

Keryns Flowers

Congratulations Keryn and Remy. It's a beautiful shop.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh's week began with the promise of some spare time for felting, but everyday life somehow got in the way. She started the week by making some felt balls to be used in future jewellery projects.

Telenas Felt Balls

Having seen one of her felting friends felt around a teapot several years ago in a workshop, she's always thought it would be a fun thing to do, with a beautifully insulated teapot a further attraction. Telena cut strips of prefelt in different colours and wove them around the teapot. After wetting down with soapy water, she gently rubbed the surface. This proved more difficult than expected as some areas were awkward to felt around. With much perseverance, the fleece began to felt and shrink around the form of the teapot. She felted a little cap for the teapot lid (how cute is that?), and she thinks she'll felt the teapot cover further in the coming days. For now, she's off to make a nice hot cup of tea.

felting a teapot
Telenas Felted Teapot

Trish Urquhart

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been sharing her culinary talents with her daughter Maria this week.

Maria has secured a job making petit fours for a restaurant in Johannesburg, and she was due to deliver her first batch this week. Trish pulled an all-nighter (with other family members also forgoing sleep) to act as kitchen hand and assist with the preparations. Maria's petit fours were a big success and now that Maria has fully developed her recipes, Trish thinks she'll manage the workload independently in the future.

Trish and Richard are in Magoebaskloof in Limpopo this weekend, staying with their friend Merle of Barok, and Trish has taken some nature photos for her contribution. They make me want to down tools and head straight outdoors.

Trishs Lichen Photos

Kanen Breen

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has given in to temptation and declared his creative challenge The 52 Week Shoe Challenge. And it's just as well, because his amazingly glitzy shoes just keep coming.

He needed these shoes, he said (and we all believe him), to go with the opening night shirt he purchased, but in the absence of any craft store that he could locate, he's pleased to present his first Zara/reject shop creative hybrid. The original Zara shoe was $20 down from $90, and only had appeal because of the silver leather around the edge.

Shoe makeover

The transformation was achieved with craft paint and glitter, all secured with hair spray. The shoes were quite a hit on opening night, although Kanen expected them to be trashed by evening's end. He was wrong. They're rock solid and can now happily take their place in his regular rotation. So now he has new shoes and a new technique up his sleeve. Expect to see more hair spray spectaculars in the future.

Kanens shoe transformation

Georgia Bennett, Stephen Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, enlisted Stephen Bennett's help for her creative contribution this week. You may remember from last week that Steve has embarked on a project to develop his video production skills. And Georgia has been keen to improve the quality of her You Tube recordings. They joined forces this week to see if they could improve on the results Georgia's been getting with our very basic set-up. They've achieved a great result - far and away the best yet.

Georgia also made some stunning treats by playing around with the raw, organic chocolate recipe she posted a few weeks ago. This time, she made peanut butter cups and also some delicious mint chocolate. The chocolate was very rich last time, so we added blended macadamias to the basic chocolate recipe to give a creamier result - a trick inspired by reading the ingredients on a variety of raw, organic chocolate bars - and it's a real improvement. Neither of these creations is going to last long around here.

Georgias Chocolates

Scarlet Bennett

People who know me well know that I'm far from a last minute wonder. I always like to prepare for deadlines in advance. But this week, that turned out to be impossible and I had a real scramble to the finishing line. I woke yesterday morning with no creation even underway, and the obvious solution was to attempt something with a Valentine's Day theme. I made this bold heart using polymer, black onyx, a dried flower from my garden, and resin. It's not finished yet - I'll make the edges sharp once the resin is properly set, but it's an interesting piece that will look really good with the right outfit.

Valentine's Pendant

As is always the case when you're incredibly busy, all sorts of other things demand attention. We're absolutely drowning in garden produce at the moment and I'm determined not to waste a morsel. So this weekend's cooking output has included: pumpkin soup, crumbed eggplant, Afghan eggplant curry, Italian tomato sauce, and fig jam. I also made a double batch of banana, walnut and cinnamon muffins and some delicious nut loaves for the freezer. A nice, productive weekend all round.

cooking with garden produce

Week 21: Creative Challenge 52

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has been up to his famous shoe tricks again. He's submitted this week's creation from sunny Perth, where he reports that hotel crafts completely rock. He says he can't sleep in work accommodation unless there's a liberal sprinkling of sequins, paint and glue on the carpet (can you imagine how popular he is with the cleaners?).

He bought these hideous shoes for $5 and dragged them across the Nullarbor with the express purpose of a cheeky debazzling, and - voila! Given the fact that people are stopping to stare at his sparkly specs, he expects these little lovelies to stop traffic.

Kanens Shoes In Progress

'You know the drill,' he said. 'Paint, glue, sequins, RESULT!'

He forgot his masking tape so the lines aren't as crisp as previous efforts, but they'll get Kanen through the next twelve days in the style to which he's become accustomed, and may even form part of his artsy/casual opening night look if they don't fall apart first (they're not exactly a sturdy shoe).

Kanen says he has an enormous week ahead of him and he wonders what on earth he's going to create during the cracks in his crazy schedule. Hopefully no shoes, he says, but he makes no promises. Just as well. There's an unlikely promise if ever I've heard one.

Kanens Finished Shoe Transformation

Keryn Clark

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has survived the arduous process of moving, and is busy in her new Gold Coast home, setting up her florist shop. She spent time in Melbourne and Sydney when she first left Perth to set up supply chains and have a look around. While she was there, she created a photo story of her travels.

Her story began with a house sporting a beard - Hipster House, she's called it.

Keryns Hipster House

She walked from St Kilda to South Yarra and beyond looking for flower shops. Some wouldn't let her take photos so she had to go undercover to get these snaps. She saw these places as oases in an urban landscape.

Keryns Urban Oases

The Victorian building squashed between the pop-up and fast food outlets somewhere near Chapel Road reminded Keryn of bloated decrepitude. And the urban art she found struck her as 'voices from the underground'.

Keryns urban art photos

Keryn has (cleverly) named the last two houses Monobrow and Opposites Attract. Love it!

Monobrown and Opposites Attract

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has continued with her jewellery theme, creating felt dreadlocks of different lengths and widths.

Inspired by a photo in the Good Weekend magazine a few weeks ago, she's created two necklaces with a chain-like effect. The darker of the two was made with lots of short felt ropes, the lighter was made from a very long dreadlock that Telena looped around itself.

Telenas Felt Chains

The final necklace combines five thin felt ropes. It's fastened with a clasp, which means it can be worn in a variety of ways - as it falls, twisted or knotted (see photos below).

Telenas felt necklace

Telena says she's been enjoying making smaller pieces lately, but she's also planning some larger pieces. School went back last week, so she's been busy teaching again, and arranging music on Sibelius. Felting time just got that bit more scarce, but I'm sure that won't hold her back.

Trish Urquhart

Trishs Curtains

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been busy on a number of creative fronts this past week.

She's making a set of refurbished curtains for their rental unit. The original curtains were made by Richard's mother in 1965. Trish has re-lined them, as the fifty year old lining was totally rotten on the edges. And she cut off the old tops, threw away the rotten tape, and made a new tab top to replace the old, damaged pieces.

Trishs Curtain Refurbishment

Trish also made an ostrich frittata, using an ostrich egg that novelist Jo-Anne Richards bought in Calvinia on her drive to Johannesburg from Cape Town. She made it with prawns, basil, red onions and gruyere, and Trish reports that it was delicious. To see more of Trish's exciting food adventures, visit her fabulous food blog.

Trishs Ostrich Egg Frittata

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has had a demanding week. She's been sick with a virus that spread through the family with the impressive efficiency of falling dominoes, and she started at a new college on Monday as well.

Nevertheless, she found the energy to make a delicious tomato sauce on Friday afternoon using tomatoes and oregano from our garden. The tomatoes were a mixed batch - all organic and open-pollinated, with a number of heirloom varieties in the mix. The end result was as delicious as it was colourful.

Tomato Sauce

If you think it looks like the tomatoes weren't skinned, you're right, and I'm to blame for that culinary heresy. I attempted to make an authentic sauce once, painstakingly pealing all the tomatoes, and decided - long before the task was done - that life was too short. Ever the pragmatist, I've taught Georgia to make fresh tomato sauce with the skins intact - which makes sauce-making a quick and easy job - and we blitz the end result in a powerful blender. No one who tastes it is any the wiser.

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett has made a video that is - in his words - truly dreadful. As a neophyte movie producer he came up with the idea of an exciting, gut wrenching thriller called the Kiss of the Carrot, starring Duke and Velvie, with a support cast of extras from Paddock 2.

Things he thinks he learnt in the process:

  1. Learn how to turn the video camera on to record. The red light means it's recording and the green light means it's not. He got this basic concept wrong for a total of 32 takes.
  2. Make sure the microphone is out and working, and use the wind shield when filming en plein air.
  3. Don't try and make a film while feeding horses by yourself.
  4. Don't use daggy scene transitions from the software package.

He feels that his future as the next Fellini is imminent, so he's decided to show his first picture warts and all as a point of reference for future blockbusters.

This short one-acter comes with a warning - it really is awful.

The end.

Scarlet Bennett

Flower Pendant

I made some old style jewellery this week - just trinkets really - for the fun of it. The resin wasn't even dry, however, before the pieces were claimed. Hannah and Georgia have adopted these pendants and I'm delighted they've gone to such worthy homes. I'll probably play around some more with these techniques. They're a relaxing antidote to an overly busy work week and the end result reminds me of a much loved (deceased) grandmother.

Victoriana Rose Pendant

Week 19: Creative Challenge 52

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been embellishing necklaces this week. Her daughter, Rachel, is getting married soon and they've been out shopping for bridesmaid dresses together. Rachel has also been draping her belongings around the house to see what she really wants to take with her into married life, so there's been lots of cleaning and sorting activity too. The downside of this is that Telena's studio is now quite full! She plans to remedy that in the coming week.

Telenas Dreadlocks
Telenas Cat

In the meantime, she's taken some of her dreadlock necklaces and added felted balls to create another dimension of interest. The autumn toned neckace is going straight to Telena's private collection, I'm told. Telena has also shared photos of some of her other bead necklaces, and there's a picture of her special studio helper too - just what you need when you're trying to sew knitted squares into blankets. As you can see, Hazel (the cat) has claimed them as her own. Who's a nice, warm kitty, then?

Telenas Felt Beads

Trish Urquhart

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has been delightfully creative in her kitchen again.

Her masterpiece this week is an innovative sage pesto, which she served with a roasted garden butternut, fresh out of her garden. Trish's sage is going crazy at the moment and her first butternut was ready for picking yesterday, so she was determined to find a way to combine the two.

She often fries the sage leaves but, after the success of her recent tarragon pesto, she wondered if sage pesto would also be good. As it turns out, it was delicious.

Trishs Sage

Trish took two loosely packed cups of sage leaves and blended them with about a cup of olive oil. She then added six cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, and blended that. She stirred in around two handfuls of chopped walnuts and another two handfuls of ground almonds - thinking that the powerful sage needed this degree of taming - along with two handfuls of mixed grated cheese. She added a couple of teaspoons of honey, and served the pesto with slices of roasted butternut. Do visit Trish's fabulous food blog for more news of her food adventures.

Roasted butternut with sage pesto

Dinner wasn't served until about ten o'clock, however, because Trish was multi-tasking - arranging a bookcase that she'd moved into the living space from their ex-writing room. This, of course, turned into a bigger project than intended and the photos here are a work in progress as she didn't have time to move all the books. Looking good, Trish. Love the paint job.

Bookcase renovation

Kanen Breen

Kanens Gold Shoes

Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has effected a five minute shoe transformation this week - a crazy work week for him - and he says he's very happy indeed with the results.

He bought these ultra-conservative shoes last week and wore them to rehearsals where he was roundly mocked for his 'plain Jane' footwear (people can be so cruel). Until then, he hadn't intended to mess about with the shoes but, upon reflection and with a little bit of a nudge from his friends, he decided that they weren't very 'him' after all and something had to be done. Five minutes with his So Soft gold paint and he now has just enough razzle dazzle to satisfy the naysayers and put a smile on his face as well. He says his creative output this week is hardly groundbreaking, but the best his schedule and energy levels would permit. I'm just glad to see him back in the shoe game. Flamingos are all well and good, but I'd definitely being missing his ultra glam shoes. Perhaps a well shod flamingo for next week?

Kanens Shoe Transformation

Georgia Bennett

Singer, guitarist and song writer, Georgia Bennett, has delighted us with another culinary delicacy this week. Always keen to make new things, she had a go at a German Apple Cake and the results, I think, speak for themselves - yes, it tastes easily as good as it looks. To serve, she invented an apple and blackberry sauce using fruit freshly picked from our garden and the combination couldn't have been better. It was a wonderful dessert.

Georgia hasn't done any recordings this week, but she's been prolific with her song writing. She has four new pieces to add to her repertoire once she's refined them to her liking, and we'll hopefully get to hear them in the coming weeks. Keep 'em coming, Georgia.

Georgias German Apple Cake

Stephen Bennett

Grandfathers Chest

Stephen Bennett has had a busy week attending meetings for a new job as choirmaster at Canberra Grammar School, so his creative work this week has been somewhat curtailed.

He inherited an old chest from his grandfather and has been intending to turn it into a bedside table for at least 25 years, so he got on with the job and now can't figure out why he took so long to get around to it. It looks fabulous, doesn't it?

Finished Chest

The tapestry stand he made for Hannah needed a re-design and a few modifications, followed by staining and varnishing, and he completed that job too (not bad for a curtailed week).

Hannah's tapestry stand
Doors in progress

The kitchen re-build is still hanging around his neck like a noose, so he tried to make some progress there. He cut all the rails and styles for the door frames, and when the panel raising router bit arrived in the mail from the USA, he raised the first two panels. He's also gluing up the next panel to be routed. It will be a slow job but he swears he'll get there by next Christmas. All in good time, I'm sure.

Kitchen Panel Doors

Scarlet Bennett

I could take a photo of my computer to show you all the writing I've done this week, but that wouldn't be very exciting, so you're going to have to take my word for it. My fingers have been flying across the keyboard with pleasing fluency, and long may that last is all I can say.

Determined to create something visual, however, I tinkered with some polymer early in the week, making a rose using a few different shades of red. I then added some wire and resin to make the piece a bit more interesting. It's an unusual design and I must say it's growing on me. It looks striking on and the steel wire stops the flower from looking too girly. An industrial passion theme, perhaps, and you've gotta love that.

Scarlets Red Rose